Garden Photo of the Day

Marty’s Minnesota Garden

Blooms of spring and summer

close up of Prickly pear cactus with bright yellow flowers

Today we’re visiting with Marty Whalen.

I live in the countryside of northern Minnesota on 8 acres of beautiful soil that was once cattle pasture. Not a rock in sight. I raise chickens, so I use a lot of composted bedding to keep the soil healthy. This garden was started in 1998.

close up of pink and yellow spring flowersPink flowers of Primula denticulata (drumstick primrose, Zones 2–7) surround the soft yellow of Erythronium (Zones 4–9) in spring.

close up of bright pink peonyA gorgeous peony (Paeonia hybrid, Zones 3–8) is in full bloom in front of a pond. It looks like it might be the classic variety ‘Bowl of Beauty’.

close up of bright purple Siberia irisThis ruffled Siberian iris (Iris hybrid, Zones 3–8) is stunning. Siberian irises are durable, easy-to-grow plants, and newer hybrids have larger, more ruffled, and more diversely colored blooms than the old standards.

close up of Prickly pear cactus with bright yellow flowersNative to dry spots over pretty much all of eastern North America, prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa, Zones 4–9) looks cool all year but really shows off when it blooms in early summer.

close up of deep red Asiatic liliesAsiatic lilies (Lilium hybrids, Zones 4–9) are a group of hybrids that have the widest color range of the genus and are generally easy to grow.

bright purple jackman clematis behind yellow foliageJackman clematis (Clematis ‘Jackmanii’, Zones 4–8) is a classic old hybrid, first introduced in the mid-1800s, and it is easy to see why it remains popular today. Few plants can match that incredible flower display.

More Asiatic lilies, in every shade of red, are accented with some whites in the back. One lily is beautiful, but a mass of them like this is just incredible.


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  1. nwphilagardener 02/12/2024

    Nice photos. That ruffled Iris seems more likely to be a variety of moisture loving Japanese Iris ensata with wider foliage blades, rather than the more diminutive Iris sibirica, aka Siberian Iris, with skinny blades.

  2. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 02/12/2024

    Lovely to see your prickly pear and their cheery blooms, lots of lilies too, which I also love. I have to be vigilant to keep the red lily beetle from destroying the lilies in my garden. Do you encounter them in your garden?

  3. [email protected] 02/12/2024

    Always wanted the taller version of primulas....will have to get some because they are gorgeous. Beautiful gardens.

  4. User avater
    musabasjoosue 02/12/2024

    What a beautiful patch of Opuntia to brighten up the day!

  5. btucker9675 02/12/2024

    The primroses and peonies especially brightened this dreary rainy day in Charlotte. Your garden is astonishing!

  6. User avater
    simplesue 02/12/2024

    Wow your Jackmanii’ Clematis is fabulous! You have many gorgeous plant, but that one is my favorite!

  7. User avater
    cynthia2020 02/12/2024

    Marty - I enjoyed reading your gardening story and looking at all the floriferous photos.

  8. [email protected] 02/12/2024

    Wow! At first glance I thought I was looking at roses! Then I thought no, peonies. But no, they are Prickly Pear flowers! And so gorgeous! In fact all of your flowers shown are ragingly happy and healthy! I do agree, the iris are the bearded kind, not Siberian.. The large grouping of Lillies I found puzzling in that the leaves are two different shapes? I am familiar with the narrow leaves but the wider strap leaves? And they don't seem to be supported by anything. Mine grow so tall they flop over without support. I love the idea of plant many in a group so close together...

  9. jos29803 02/12/2024

    It's nice to see another Prickly Pear fan. The flowers are absolutely amazing. My oldest Prickly Pear is 16 years old, and I look forward to the blossoms every year and now my neighbors do as well. Your Clematis is spectacular! Happy gardening.

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